Italo-Norman

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The Italo-Normans, or Siculo-Normans when referring to Sicily, were the Italian-born descendants of the first Norman conquerors to travel to the Mezzogiorno in the first half of the eleventh century. While maintaining much of their distinctly Norman piety and customs of war, they were shaped by the diversity of southern Italy, by the cultures and customs of the Greeks, Lombards, and also Arabs in Sicily.

Normans first arrived in Italy as pilgrims probably either on their way or returning from Jerusalem or visiting the shrine at Monte Gargano in the late tenth and early eleventh century. In 1017, the Lombard lords in Apulia recruited their assistance against the dwindling power of the Byzantine Catapanate of Italy. They soon established vassal states of their ownThe Norman leader Rainulf Drengot was granted a base in the fortress of Aversa in 1029. and began to expand their conquests until they were encroaching on the Lombard principalities of Benevento and Capua, Saracen controlled territories, and territory under papal allegiance, as well as Greek. They began the conquest of Sicily in 1061 and it was complete by 1091.

Italo-Normans were the primary Norman mercenaries in the employ of the Byzantine emperors and the Armenians. Many found service in Rome, under the pope, and some went to Spain to join the Reconquista. In 1096, the Normans of Bohemond of Taranto joined the First Crusade. These Italians set up the principality of Antioch in the Levant. The...
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